Oregon’s singular “double majority” law is on its way to the ballot — again.

Though voters have upheld the requirements several times before, Democrats think the time is right for reform, and the state Senate voted 20-9 today to put the issue on the November 2008 ballot.
The double majority makes it more difficult to pass a property tax increase during elections in March, May, September and odd-numbered Novembers. It requires that at least 50 percent of voters must submit ballots for the election results to be validated.

That means that if only 49 percent of voters bother to cast a ballot, a measure is defeated, even if every single one of those voters has backed the proposal. School districts in particular have been stymied by the turnout requirements when asking voters to back local option levies.

The new proposal would eliminate the double majority requirements for elections in May and November of odd-numbered years. Turnout requirements would still apply for March and September votes.

“You need to make your voice heard,” said Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin. “That is how democracy should work, not by staying home.”
Most Republicans, though not all, have argued against the ballot referral.

“The people have already answered this question,” said Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg. “We shouldn’t ask it again.”

— The Associated Press